Many infants experience uncomfortable gas and discomfort. I see this issue a lot in my practice! Here are some common reasons your infant may have uncomfortable episodes of gas.
-Immature Digestive System. This is the most common culprit for infant gas and it’s totally normal! An infants GI tract is still figuring out how to breakdown and process milk efficiently. Breastfed babies are significantly less gassy than formula fed babies because breastmilk is much easier for their bodies to recognize and digest. However, breastfed babies can still be very gassy until their digestive system matures. Excessive gas in infants due to an immature digestive system usually improves around 3-6 months of age.
-Latch. When a baby has a poor latch, excess air can be swallowed causing gas and discomfort. Make sure your baby has a wide and deep latch every nursing session. The latch should feel painless to mom and have a tug/pull sensation as opposed to a pinch/bite. The best thing to do is get your baby’s latch assessed by an LC. It can make all the difference in your baby’s gassy episodes as well as increase milk transfer and promote pain free nursing.
-Oral ties. Oral ties can cause many problems with infant feeding. Babies with oral ties have trouble maintaining a latch and/or a seal at the breast. This can cause them to swallow air continuously causing gas and discomfort.
-Fast let down. Some moms experience a fast let down when baby is at the breast. This rush of milk may be hard for baby to manage and leave you with one gassy baby.
-Too Much Foremilk/Oversupply. This can also go along with the fast let down since many moms with a fast let down also have an oversupply of milk. If mom has a large milk storage capacity and an oversupply of milk, baby may only be drinking the foremilk and not getting to the hindmilk. The hindmilk in the breast is the higher calorie, fatty, creamier milk that remains in a breast that’s almost ‘empty’. Too much foremilk, not enough hindmilk can cause gassiness in babies. But don’t worry, ALL milk is beneficial and nutrient dense even though an imbalance of foremilk/hindmilk can often cause gas.
-Allergen in the Milk. Some babies have sensitivities to the foods in moms diet and this can cause gas and discomfort for baby. This doesn’t happen nearly as much as moms may think, but it does happen! Work with an LC to do a food elimination study if you think it is a good sensitivity that might be causing your baby’s gas.
I know I say this over and over but it is so important to get a latch and oral assessment done with an LC. If your breastfeeding baby experiences lots of gassy episodes, an assessment can make all the difference. It’s also important to add in a high quality probiotic for both mom and baby. There may be other supplements that may help with gas as well, based on mom/baby history and the issues they’re experiencing.